Now that I got your attention, please read this.
I felt the words below were poignant and highly relevant to many people struggling with weight loss.
The public needs to realize that achieving significant weight loss is a monumentally challenging, mind-numbing, daily grind. It’s not a stroll through the park where you’re faithful to an “off limits” food list, and look like a superhero by the time you click your heels and get back home to Kansas.
People have to realize that caloric deficits gradually diminish as weight is lost – and that THIS IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN!
Dieters need to know that the short-term goals of a weight loss program are to run into as many weight loss plateaus as necessary to hit that “final” weight loss plateau (unless the goal is to diet down to thin air). After all, the endpoint goal is a plateau of sorts; a purposeful stasis of the progress that was made.
That’s right, the public needs to know that normal weight loss is a nonlinear descent that involves necessary periods of equilibrium.
Here’s what so very few dieters know: progress phases are supposed to get progressively shorter while plateau phases get progressively longer. This is actually a good thing because it means that the relative permanence of the goal is materializing. Think of it as a staircase with a series of landings that progressively increase in length as the steps down decrease in number, with the final landing being the longest, since it represents the finish line; the long-term maintenance of the goal. Here’s a graphic I created to make it more explicit:
Without any knowledge of the above, what do dieters do once they run into the first weight loss plateau? They either give up, or seek out the next magic program with an updated good/evil food list that promises to deliver the “real” secrets of weight loss. It’s complete nonsense that’s entirely preventable by having the right perspective & expectations from the start.
What should dieters do when they hit a weight loss plateau (a stall lasting more than 2-3 weeks)? Unless there’s some urgent rush to make a weight class or achieve a certain look for public (or private) appearance, then my advice is to relax. See if you can maintain that weight for another 2-3 weeks. People always forget that maintenance of results is a legitimate goal, even if they aren’t at their ultimate goal yet. Allowing enough time to regroup physically and mentally before the next descent phase (into the next plateau) can help with long-term progress.
How can the next descent phase be initiated? Decrease caloric intake, increase caloric output, or both – it’s a decision that should be based solely upon personal preference and tolerance. There’s no special set of foods, pills, or chants that will effectively break through a plateau better than a methodical re- opening of the energy deficit.
You already know this, but the majority of the public does not. They’re too busy seeking magic.
Alan Aragon’s Research Review. Jan 2012, p11
For those who don’t know who Alan Aragon is, I’ll just tell you that he is one of the most trustworthy and respected experts in “science and evidence based nutrition applied for sports”.
The TL;DR is:
Folks, be patient, don’t give up.
It took you a long while to gain the extra weight you have, it will also take a long while to lose it.
PERSISTENCE IS KEY.